Check out the original article, posted here on mmos.com.
The direction of modern gaming, specifically MMORPGs, has taken a much different route than when it first began. The scene never really started to take off until the 90’s, arguably becoming more prominent with the release of Ultima Online by Richard Garriot, and later Blizzard’s MMORPG, World of Warcraft.
I myself never really started diving into MMOs until I was exposed to Runescape in 2004. That game is still the bomb if you ask me (old School version, not that new stuff).
Starting from Runescape, I then dived off into multiple First Person Shooters such as Counter Strike, or MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, EverQuest, etc. Overall I like to think I’ve got a fair bit of experience in regards to the ever growing world of MMOs in today’s modern gaming.
So, I’ll just cut to the chase and say what I need to say. The current state of MMOs in general is a disaster.
Now let me back-pedal a bit and state that I still enjoy playing many of the current MMOs out there right now; specifically Star Wars: The Old Republic and Eve Online, though Eve has taken a bit of a back seat for me lately.
Companies quickly found out that they can make a ridiculous amount of money off of gamers. When World of Warcraft released and quickly gained popularity, it also gained the attention of several entrepreneurs looking for the next big thing to make money from.
At first, it helped to create a healthy market for MMORPGs. Competition was strong, but what I think went wrong is that these new MMORPGs all trying to become the next big thing while doing the same things that World of Warcraft does. Are there companies out there who claim that they are not trying to make the next big WoW? Sure, but they still use the same template.
But Scruffy, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, scrub. Get rekt.
Well, sure, you can tell me that, but you can feel free to enjoy the same regurgitated crap year after year.
In fact, I should back-pedal again on my previous statement that the MMO world has taken a different route. In reality, it has stayed on the same road since day one. Sure the technology has changed, graphics have improved greatly to near realism, and fresh ideas are implemented every year, but what you are left with is the same game just made with a different coat of paint. Goes back to that old saying, you can try to polish a turd, but it will always be a turd.
Fortunately, it seems there is a bright future on the horizon. While some consider the advent of Kickstarter programs for games the ultimate scam, I consider it to be a beautiful evolution. The reason the market has remained the same as always is because companies/publishers are too afraid to get out of their comfort zone, and do something different. Same goes for us as gamers.
Kickstarter has allowed small development companies to remain independent from being strong armed by the publishers. Maybe my perspective is slightly skewed because I’ve never worked in the industry beyond the role of a player. However, it does not take a genius to see a trend from the early 2000’s until now.
In a way, it is almost like music nowadays. Ever notice how most hit songs on the radio all have the same format as every other hit song before it? No different here if you ask me. But don’t be dissing on Katy Perry though.
People like to stay in their comfort zones and stick with what they know. Making money is no exception. This makes upstart, small time developers commendable for trying to break the cycle.
Despite hearing about the many vaporware scams, where “developers” abuse their kickstarter program to help start their game—claiming to be something entirely different and then mysteriously disappearing—is still not enough to sway my hopes for something good to come out of it.
We as the gaming community are the ones with the real power here, believe it or not. Though, I remember when the gaming culture was not so complacent in what they wanted. Now we just suck it up, and stick with what we get. In turn, they continue to regurgitate the same crap year after year, and we continue to buy into it.
Take the time, my fellow gamers, and write down what YOU would want to see be made. Do not think about what is already out there. Think about what YOU want. When you are done with that, do some research and try to find IF there is someone with the same ideas, like a team of developers, and back them. It is really that simple.
People only need one push to be put in the right direction. From there, it is just placing one foot in front of the other until it is seen through.
While the state of MMOs and gaming in general has stagnated, there is still a bright future ahead if we only take that leap as a gaming community. And remember fellow nerds, be excellent to each other.
The Scruffy Pirate